Police report 2 scams affecting residents

From staff reports

Area police have released information about two more scams affecting residents.

Marienville state police are investigating an incident in which they say an 89-year-old Sigel man was scammed out of $40,000 after he received a letter from Publishers Clearing House claiming that he was the winner of a $1.6 million sweepstakes on Feb. 5.

Lengthy instructions the man received by mail and over the phone said the winnings couldn’t be released until a $40,000 state and federal income tax bill was paid, police said. The man complied with the instructions and was scammed out of the $40,000, police said.

Police said the investigation into the theft is continuing.

Police say area residents need to be vigilant and cautious when asked to provide personal information to anyone over the phone.

Marienville police also said to beware of overly complicated instructions or fast talking about time restraints regarding sweepstakes and winnings.

Police added that “if necessary, reach out for assistance or guidance to ensure the legitimacy of the correspondence or phone call in question. Lastly, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.”

In the second incident, Sugarcreek police are warning Rocky Grove residents about an email scam that appears to be from PayPal.

Police said an email sent to a Rocky Grove resident said there had been unauthorized deductions from the person’s PayPal account and to dispute those deductions the person needed to contact PayPal.

On Wednesday, the individual called the number in the email to dispute the deduction, police said.

When the scammers posing as Paypal called the Rocky Grove resident back the caller ID showed as “PayPal,” police said.

The scammer tried to get the individual to a better firewall for their computer and when that didn’t work, the scammer gained remote access to the computer in question, police said.

Police said the scammer then claimed they had deposited too much money in the individual’s account and that the person needed to purchase Walmart gift cards to pay them back.

The person stalled and told the scammers they didn’t have a vehicle and they would buy the gift cards the next day, police said.

The person then contacted their bank and shut down all accounts, closing the scammer out of the account, police said.

Police said that even though the scammers didn’t steal any money from the individual they did gain complete control of the person’s computer, home phone and cell phone.